Archive for January, 2018

Blogpost 18 : 27/1/18

January 28, 2018

Letters to Daily Mirror

Sent 11/1/18
You report that, after Storm Eleanor, the Cornish coast has been covered with old fishing nets, lego pieces and other forms of waste plastic. Has anyone collected it up, to dispose of it?
I suspect that in Austerity Britain, local Councils have no contingency budget and will be hoping that it all floats back out to sea.

Sent 11/1/18 and published
The claim that the present generation is paying for the previous generation’s pension is, at best, contentious.
On that basis, my Baby Boomer generation presumably paid the pensions of my parents’ generation.
Bearing in mind the reason we’re called Baby Boomers and bearing in mind that My parents generation had been depleted by WWII, there should have been plenty of spare cash in the pension pot, except that there was no such pot.
All N.I. contributions went into the Treasurery’s tax chest
None was invested, as it should have been.
It was spent on whatever whimsy appealed to the Government of the day.
It’s still down to political ideology and chosen priorities
As I see it, at present, the ability to nuke foreigners takes precedence over old and knackered workers, who no longer contribute to the Politicians’ trough.

Published version

OAPs not at fault over pension pot
THE claim that the present generation is paying for the previous generation’s pension is, at best, contentious. On that basis, my baby boomer generation presumably paid the pensions of my parents’
Bearing in mind the reason we’re called baby boomers and that my parents’ generation had been depleted by the Second World War, there should have been plenty of spare cash in the pension pot, except there wasn’t one.
National Insurance contributions went into the Treasury’s tax chest.
None was invested. It was spent on whatever whimsy appealed to the government at the time.
It’s still down to political ideology and chosen priorities.

Sent 19/1/18
If News from France is true, we won’t be seeing The Bayeux Tapestry, because Local custodians are strongly against any such move. However; it has served its purpose, of deflecting conversation away from May’s gift to the charming young Macron.
Is that £44Mn just for this year?
What happens when the UK leaves the EU? Will we continue paying France?

News of large scale migrant movements have dried up but I presume the migrants haven’t gone home.
We have right wingers talking of invading hordes, with various pundits decrying them as racists, but we are hearing nothing from Government.

Theoretically EU countries are supposed to force migrants to register, as they arrive at their borders and then ensure a reasonable distribution of them.
Have those at Calais been registered? Are they our allocation, or the French allocation? Why are we paying the French to keep them? Has the EU set aside funds to house, feed and water the migrants?
Most important what numbers are involved? A few 100,000, as fled Idi Amin?, or are there millions, as UKIP would have us believe?
Our politicians are saying nothing.
They want us to have an intelligent, adult conversation about how they want to privatise the NHS but they’re avoiding any intelligent, adult conversation of the migrants.
This issue is not going to go away, simply by paying Macron hush money.

Sent 19/1/18
Your story about Andrew Wakefield, driving around without a licence for 40 years should be considered as far more serious than it reads.
Without a licence, you can not pay road tax, or get insurance in your own name.
Other stories seem to suggest that law abiding drivers are suffering financial and physical harm from collisions with uninsured drivers.
It seems that this has become severe enough for some insurers to offer protection against this, which was the whole purpose of requiring car insurance, when the legislation was introduced.
Now that untaxed cars can be trapped by cameras, it might be better to place a fixed premium on car tax payments, which covers the requirements of the road traffic act.
If the Gov’t insists that this premium should be handled by private insurers, then The DVLA should be able to come to a direct agreement with Lloyds.
If drivers want Comprehensive cover then they could still make such arrangements, although most of us with second-hand cars know that such cover does not make financial sense.

Blog post 17. 2/1/18

January 3, 2018

letters to Daily Mirror

The Speaker is in charge of policing MP behaviour, in the House
Perhaps he should also have charge of monitoring moral behaviour of MP’s etc. , generally.
An experienced and independent police investigation team could be formed, to support him. It would rely on fixed period secondments of officers from regional forces.
Where cases can’t be taken to court, at least offenders would know that their names were on a register and they needed to mend their ways.
The Speaker would be in a position to warn Party leaders of a need to nudge serial offenders to the exit


No-one can doubt that a fireman “earns” his wages but it seems an insult to his job to claim that one TV presenter “earns” £50,000 per year more than another.
One may be “bank”ing more than the other, and is “laughing all the way to the bank” but it’s surely time to stop using these two words as synonyms

Vince Cable has said that the Public should have a vote on the final Brexit agreement.
Would that be another “advisory” vote; allowing disappointed politicians to claim the sovereignty of Parliament in order to overturn it?
Would it be another yes/no vote enabling them to claim that the Public hadn’t voted for some minor aspects of the agreement?

The LGANews tweeted this:
“It’s not complicated. The best way to solve housing crisis is to let councils build.
We will get right homes in the right places” –
@garyporterlga tells @SkyNews

He’s wrong.
It is complicated, because, it’s not just houses, it’s infra-structure, as well.
In Wigan, we have main roads which were originally B-roads, bordered by terraced houses, old mining scrub and farms.
New estates have been built behind these terraced houses and just plugged in to the existing mains water, sewage, electricity and gas. These can be upgraded but at a cost.
The up-grading means closing that B-road, which can’t be widened, without demolishing the houses bordering it.
This is further complicated by the fact the people living on the new estates have to use that same road to get to work, increasing the congestion on it and the need to keep it clear of roadworks
We need new purpose built towns to accomodate our growing population, especially if we’re to welcome large numbers of immigrants, whether refugees, unskilled illegals, or highly desired skilled workers.
You can’t just keep finding brownfield sites to squeeze in high rise flats, as one Tory MP suggested on the daily politics show
It’s not a Monopoly board, where you just plonk a few more houses down, or swap 4 house with a hotel

Whoever came up with the suggestion of placing images of road traffic accidents next to speed limit signs, must be on a 6 figure salary.
A lesser employee would be sacked for such lunacy.
The only drivers who would slow down would be ghouls wanting a better look, or wishing to traumatise their children.
Really, it’s bad enough having electronic message boards warning drivers
“In the time it takes you to read this message, your car has travelled 100m. Dont be an idiot, concentrate on the road”

I must admit to buying stuff from Amazon and will continue to do so, despite reading your report of employees being treated worse than slaves.
I’ll continue buying food, over-wrapped in plastic, despite TV showing pictures of seas covered in plastic waste.
I’ll continue needing Health care, despite the NHS being stretched to breaking point.
If I had a magic wand, I’d solve the World’s ills but I don’t have such powers.
I can write letters to Newspapers, sign on-line petitions and every 5 years I get to help choose which group of MP’s are given the power to try to fix these problems.
These MP’s, once elected tell me that they’ll vote for what they want, regardless of what they may have promised me.
I absolve myself of all the blame dumped on me, by the TV and Press.
These things are not my fault, or my responsibility; I just get to pay for them.

I was disgusted to read about the Coventry and Rugby hospitals denying free tea etc, to staff, especially while it is free to patients.
I suppose it’s only to be expected of the Trusts running them.
They’re gearing up to privatisation, when patients will become customers and nursing staff will become menials, wishing us to “have a nice day!”

I don’t think Michel Barnier and the EU were really concerned about the UK leaving them to face ISIS on their own.
I think it’s that UK armed forces would have been under the control of Parliament, instead of Juncker

You printed an Aviva report that many 55-60 yr.olds had insufficient funds for retirement, because they were too poorly paid to put money aside.
It seems obviously true, when one considers so many having to resort to food banks, to survive.
It’s why the State Pension was created and at a level that would allow an end of useful life worker to survive in a degree of ease.
Since then that pension has been eroded, year on year, by successive Governments; with sticking plaster gestures such as pension credit and Winter fuel allowance.
The new State Pension will be a magnificent £140/wk, for all those who’ve been fortunate enough to collect sufficient green stamps.
How far will £7,000 a year go?
There won’t be many working class OAP’s going off on cruises, which pensioner’s from the professional classes are so often portrayed as doing.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Care Home charges are 4x the State Pension and many Care Homes are pleading that that’s not enough, even with very low paid staff.
Present trends point to a return to the pre-war days of isolated, elderly people starving to death in the street, unless we force politicians out of their WestMinster bubble.

The Which report about people not switching fuel suppliers is a long-standing issue, even for those who do it.
It’s not as easy as we’re continually informed it is.
Assuming you have broadband and are relaxed with using the Internet, it’s still a chore.
Unless you keep a record of your metered usage, you can’t properly be sure that you’re comparing like with like.
It’s mainly the disadvantaged in Society, who are being ripped off by this Inertia selling.
If the utilities were re-nationalised, we wouldn’t have to go through this pantomime on a regular basis.
We’d have less meter reading appointments (no! I don’t want a “smart” meter).
There’d be no call for comparison websites, whose costs must add to price of our fuel.
We wouldn’t have to sit in costly phone queues, when we need to talk to a person.
We need to re-nationalise.

We are required by law to have car insurance to pay for injuries that might be done to other road users; so how can insurers be allowed to exclude drivers from cover, when they use their car for commuting.
Such an exclusion does not protect innocent Third Parties.
There should be a legal requirement for insurers to provide such protection to anyone buying any form of car insurance.
There shouldn’t be a risk of having your car seized and facing fines, when often the only reason to buy car insurance is because of this law.
To my mind, Insurers are the criminals here, selling a service under false pretences.
For most of us, a few years Car Insurance costs are often more than the recompense offered should a car be written off and I, for one, wouldn’t bother buying it, otherwise.

I suggest that if we have to re-cycle our own plastic waste, then a good use would be to make plastic fence panels.
They’d be more decorative than the concrete ones but just as robust.
They’d be more fire-resistant than wooden ones, which they could emulate, and less prone to weathering.
Any other suggestions? e.g. kerbstones.